Went for a drive today and noticed a very loud rattle when idling. Fearing the worst, I checked the instrument panel, everything appeared to be in order. Got off, looked under car, no leaks, no smoke, so I thought the problem may not be as bad as it seemed in the first place.
Then I thought it was the shield under the engine coming loose and rattling (although it sounded a bit loud for a plastic part). The rattle was still there at idle, disappearing when rpm exceeded 1000 rpm.
Started the elimination process and discovered the loud rattle is only present when the A/C button is on (and the corresponding LED lights up); it goes away quickly after pushing it to off, comes back right after starting it again, so I guess it's the A/C compressor.
Now the questions would be:
- does the rattle mean knackered bearings or something like that? If yes, is it repairable for a reasonable cost or does it require another A/C compressor?
- is there a risk driving one more week (say 200 km) with the A/C off? There's a certain rattle even with it off, but it might also be some other part coming loose (exhaust bracket maybe).
The reason for which I'm asking the second question - my car is scheduled next week for a timing belt / waterpump / annual service visit, so I could well get the A/C job done as well, as they'd need to get into the area anyway.
And I had started preparing for celebrating three consecutive months without failures...